Russell Brand has opened a cafe in east London for recovering drug addicts as part of his vision for a chain of self-supporting non-profit social enterprises, which he claims will one day have their own currency.

The 39-year-old activist and comedian opened the Trew Era cafe on the New Era estate in Hoxton, east London, where last year he helped locals protesting against rent increases and the prospect of eviction after the estate had been bought by an American developer. Speaking to a crowd of 200 supporters at the launch, Brand explained the purpose of the cafe.

"This cafe is going to be run by people in abstinence-based recovery. It's a model that's not for profit, a fully self-supporting economic enterprise," said Brand.

"We will start more and more of these social enterprises. Eventually we will trade with one another in our own currency. We're going to create our own systems, our own federations, our own currencies, our own authorities," he added.

Brand's opening of the cafe comes as the left-wing activist was voted the world's fourth most influential thinker by Prospect magazine, behind French economist Thomas Piketty, Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis and Canadian author Naomi Klein.